Navigating Allergies in Adulthood
Having an allergy is no fun. Whether it is to food, pollen or some other substance, dealing with it can be stressful and even dangerous at times. The good news is that things are improving, allowing families and individuals to navigate life with allergies in an easier way. Here are a few things to know about living with an allergy as an adult.
Signs of Adult Onset Allergy
People tend to assume that allergies start when you are a child and follow you through into adulthood, but recent studies say otherwise. Research suggests that half of all allergies suffered by adults actually begin in adulthood. The most common allergies amongst adults, that continue to rise, are the rates of peanut, tree nut, shellfish, finfish and sesame allergies.
Signs of Intolerance vs Allergy
This is an area where dealing with allergies can get especially tricky – determining whether you have an allergy or an intolerance. The way to tell the difference is to look at dosage. Allergies can be triggered by even a tiny amount of the allergen, but intolerances occur only when someone comes into contact or ingests the allergen at high dosage or very often. A good example is a lactose intolerance. Someone may be able to eat dairy but become sick if they have one too many glasses of milk or pieces of cheese.
If you are unsure about whether you have an allergy or food intolerance, make sure to speak to a medical practitioner, such as your Wello Nurse Practitioner about being referred for allergy testing.
Going out to eat with friends or family can be difficult and even dangerous if you have sensitive allergies. The first step is to make sure you do your homework before going to the restaurant by reading their menu online or calling ahead. When you are in the restaurant, tell the staff about your allergy and double check your food when it comes out.
Reading Food Labels
To avoid the problem, you need to be able to identify it. If you are confused by the packaging and ingredients, or if a product doesn’t have an ingredient list then don’t buy it. It isn’t worth the risk and it is better to be safe. You also can also reach out to the company and ask about their ingredients and manufacturing practices. Even if you have purchased the food hundreds of times make sure you always check the label in case a change was made recently to the ingredients.
Keep Well Tips, from Wello
If you would like more keep well advice, Wello members can simply log into your patient portal to secure message directly with a nurse practitioner at www.wello.ca.